Great Lakes Drinking Water Program Manager

River Network
Various, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Junior (3-4 Years)
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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Position Title: Great Lakes Drinking Water Program Manager

Reports To: Director of Science and Policy

Location: Great Lakes region with preference for proximity to Ann Arbor, Detroit, Chicago or Milwaukee; will be based out of a home office.

Term of Position: Full-time, exempt (salary range $55,000-$65,000 depending on experience, plus benefits)

Position Summary

River Network seeks an individual with experience in supporting effective organizations and coalitions and connecting diverse sets of stakeholders. We are looking for someone who is dynamic, motivated and highly organized, to join our team as Drinking Water Program Manager for the Great Lakes region (including WI, MI, MN, OH, IL, IN, PA and NY).

This position will be primarily focused on helping create a more informed and engaged regional network of advocates for safe, clean, affordable and sustainable drinking water. The position will serve as a connector, sharing water policy and funding approaches, best practices and success stories between groups across the region, and will support groups to plan for and deploy effective tools and approaches in their communities.

Our ideal candidate understands how small nonprofit organizations operate and has experience working with under-represented groups, particularly racially and ethnically diverse communities. With an emphasis on drinking water, this person will be a network hub and resource to support leaders, organizations, and collaborative efforts to define their goals and strategies; plan campaigns; strengthen their community organizing and civic engagement initiatives; and build effective, multi-stakeholder collaborative efforts for greater impact. The position will work with River Network colleagues and partners to identify opportunities and needs for activities such as trainings and peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and to disseminate success stories and lessons learned to a broad, national audience.

The position needs to fully understand the expertise available through the River Network team, engage various team members in delivering support (e.g., science, policy, leadership development, etc.), and establish partnerships with others to fill knowledge gaps. In addition, the position collaborates with many other individuals, organizations, and funding entities across the region. This person must be flexible and able to manage multiple projects simultaneously. We are looking for candidates who have the skills and motivation to become a successful member of our nationally-dispersed team and who are excited about helping to connect all people to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water and to achieve a sustainable and healthy future for our nation’s rivers and waters.

About River Network

River Network envisions a future of clean and ample water for people and nature, where local caretakers are well-equipped, effective and courageous champions for our rivers. River Network’s mission is to empower and unite people and communities to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain all life. Visit our About Us section to learn more about our current priorities, including our key issues areas fundamental to addressing today’s water crisis (i.e., clean, safe, affordable drinking water; flood- and drought-resilient cities and communities; healthy rivers in agricultural landscapes; and robust and effective water laws and policies) as outlined in River Network’s strategic plan. Our headquarters are in Boulder, Colorado with staff and contractors working from various locations across the U.S.

River Network is committed to embracing diversity, equity and inclusion in all areas to achieve our mission. Through our programs, we seek to connect with all communities and increase the impact of their efforts to secure clean and ample water. River Network is intentional about our staffing and engagement practices and we strive to increase the diversity of our staff, board, members, and supporters with strategic recruitment and partnerships and an inclusive workplace culture.

Essential Functions

  • Analyze, Understand, Share and Leverage Support for Best Practices for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water
  • Ability to research and understand existing tools for safe and clean water and how to strategically deploy them and to identify gaps where new tools and training are needed;
  • Participate and lead meetings, calls, and working groups across the region;
  • Share relevant information (e.g. policies, water system approaches, scientific advances) from within and outside the region with groups across the region;
  • Seize opportunities to convene and facilitate organizations to develop and pursue common goals.
  • Training, Support and Campaign Planning (with a focus on drinking water)
  • Support water groups across the region in building stronger relationships with racially and ethnically diverse groups within their communities;
  • Plan and deliver in-person and virtual training for water groups, community-based organizations, and others to promote increased public participation in decisions related to water and increase the collective capacity to work for clean and safe water;
  • Provide consulting services to organizations and networks on topics related to planning and executing advocacy campaigns and developing/maintaining effective coalitions.


  • Cultivate and strengthen relationships and communication with River Network stakeholders throughout the Great Lakes states, including member organizations, conservation and environmental justice leaders, impacted communities, water utilities, health professionals, local governments, academia and funders;
  • Develop and manage outreach efforts to enhance the visibility of River Network programs and services in the region;
  • Handle referrals to other staff and consultants for assistance in other fields of expertise;
  • Collaborate with River Network staff on program development, grant writing, project management and grant reporting activities;
  • Support planning activities and participate in River Network’s annual River Rally, the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes conference and other state, regional and national training events;
  • Write and prepare materials for newsletters, blogs and training sessions.


  • Positive, self-motivated, strategic thinker and quick learner with an upbeat attitude, entrepreneurial spirit, and drive to succeed with a diverse set of stakeholders, partners, staff and volunteers;
  • Experience and professional relationships in the Great Lakes region and/or experience with either coalition leadership and/or advocacy or civic engagement (with any issue(s));
  • Experience and working knowledge of strategies to protect and restore rivers and other waters such as drinking water protection, infrastructure funding and relevant local, state and national policies;
  • Experience working with a diversity of stakeholders and community groups and skills relating to just and equitable outcomes;
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent education in a related field (e.g., program management, water resources, public or environmental policy, advocacy, and/or organizing) with at least 3-5 years professional work experience; OR equivalent professional work experience;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, group facilitation skills, interpersonal skills, strong technological abilities (e.g. Microsoft Office programs, Salesforce) and comfort learning new cloud-based systems (e.g. webinar and online communication platforms);
  • Self-directed; demonstrated ability to work independently and as a team player, defining and tracking deadlines, progress, and contributions of others and staying on track and managing multiple projects simultaneously;
  • Commitment to River Network’s mission, and to values of mutual respect and collaboration, teamwork and inclusion;
  • Ability to travel throughout the Great Lakes region (average 4-5 days/month); attend the annual River Rally conference and 1-2 staff retreats/year.

To Apply

Please send cover letter and resume as one integrated PDF document to Katherine Baer — kbaer (at) — with “GREAT LAKES DRINKING WATER PROGRAM MANAGER” in the subject line of the email. Expected hire date: June/July. Applicants granted an interview will be asked to provide work samples and references. No phone calls please.